Poignant Museum Exhibit Illustrates Plastic Catastrophe

© Christian Brändle/ZHdK

An exhibition by the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich is taking a good, hard look at plastic and its impact on the oceans. "Out to Sea? The Plastic Garbage Project" catalogues an expansive collection of plastic retrieved from beaches around the world. With 46,000 pieces of plastic litter floating on every square mile of ocean, there was presumably no shortage of material from which to create the show.

The central installation, pictured above, shows how much plastic garbage is released into the sea every 15 seconds. (You can follow the impressive gathering of the plastic here.)

As the project's site explains:

From the pieces shown visitors can trace the origins, life cycle, sense and senselessness of plastic products. Alongside puzzling objects from the fishing industry you can find remnants of familiar everyday objects such as tooth brushes, combs, and bottles etc. which show clear signs of having drifted around in salt water, as well as traces of encounters with sea creatures.

In addition to the amazing array of mundane bits and pieces turning our oceans into plastic soup, the project examines the pros and cons of plastics and their influence on health. As you may have guessed, the exhibition is accompanied by a richly diverse educational program that aims at "encouraging active confrontation with the material."

© Christian Brändle/ZHdK

Says Christian Brändle, Director of the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich, after reading Captain Charles Moore's An Idea of ​​Apocalypse, "I could not sleep. I decided to devote a major exhibition to this catastrophe. About the end of design and what we will leave our children. An exhibition on the archaeology of the future."

The exhibit will run through September 23, 2012.

Learn more at plasticgarbageproject.com.

Tags: Arts | Oceans | Plastics